Hello, I’m Jane

Like you perhaps, I’ve had an up and down journey through life.

Today I find purpose in a vision to germinate and grow nonviolent interaction between all of us humans and towards our natural world.

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    #gopeaceable – vision of a global grassroots movement

     Imagine a day, not too far off, when each encounter you have is met with empathetic understanding.  The person who has mistakenly tail-ended your car, the phone company employee, the government official, the person whose view on vaccination differs from your own, each listen with care to what you have to say.  What if, for the first time since the decline of collaboration as the social norm 10,000 years ago, we humans have the wherewithal within easy reach to transition to a collaborative, empathetic and peaceable world? 

    As I see it, the happy arrival of two widely accessible social tools, Social Media and the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) model changes the ballgame.  My vision is that these two concepts used together now open the way for a #gopeacable movement to emerge and ‘go viral’, normalising nonviolent interactions between people across the globe. I’m now looking for two co-visionaries to explore this vision further.   

    If you feel weighed down by the judgemental labels flung across social media, family dinner tables, political forums, and woven into self-talk, that separate us from each other, you are not alone.   Indeed, as Johann Hari points out, “It’s no sign of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society.”  What I sense is that people are poised, ready for a transformational way to safely negotiate difference and restore community.  When the ship is sinking, passengers search for lifebelts.

    Normalising nonviolence could avoid the ship of humanity sinking. After all, the hierarchical model of power over others so entrenched in our society is not the only way.   I worked alongside the forest dwelling Ba’aka people, hunter gatherers, in Central African Republic. Like Quakers, the Ba’aka social model is based around collaboration not competition, and their is no hierarchical leadership. We in the West could structure things differently too: research shows our one year-olds are naturally collaborative until they are socialised in childhood to see right/wrong thinking and competion as the acceptable norm. So imagine our common future once organisations, government, school, and business, are redesigned for empathy and collaboration to be the expected standard.    

    A grassroots social movement with groundswell strong enough to open the way for the emergence of empathy as the norm for the 21st century may seem fanciful, yet it’s surely worth exploring. Let’s consider the ‘seeds of war’ in judgemental behaviour, the power of the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) way of life to transform human interactions, and how social media could role model nonviolence into the furthest reaches of the globe.  

    “When two people relate to each other authentically and humanly, God is the electricity that surges between them.”    Martin Buber

    Culture wars about ‘who is right’ and ‘who is wrong’ disconnect us from each other, yet judgemental language is currently normalised and accepted in all strata of society. Perhaps you yourself still view others through a lens of ‘who is right’ and ‘who is wrong’?  

     In contrast, the NVC model provides a tool to create judgement-free interactions.  The approach was developed by clinical psychologist, Marshall Rosenberg (1934 – 2015) out of research into the causes of violence, and how to reduce it.  Rosenberg was curious why some people remained non-judgemental and open however those around them behaved; while others shifted into blame, judgement, and retribution.  He encapsulated his findings into a practical tool.  For the first time, the option of a nonviolent response is in easy reach of everyone for each face-to-face, email, group or social media encounter.

    It is not always clear that ‘nonviolence’ is not an absence of something. It’s actually an affirmative choice about how to show up in the world: the ‘Ahimsa’ philosophy behind Gandhi’s movement.  ‘Non-violent’ people simply avoid violent acts; those practising ‘nonviolence’ choose their behaviour to build peace. That hyphen makes all the difference!

    “All that has been integrated into NVC has been known for centuries about consciousness, language, communication skills, and use of power that enable us to maintain a perspective of empathy for ourselves and others, even under trying conditions.” Marshall Rosenberg

    Nonviolent communication is a simple process and easy to learn. With an understanding that all humans share the same array of ‘universal basic needs’ and this is what connects us, practitioners learn to reframe dialogue in a non-judgemental way, following a four-step process: Observation – Feeling – Need – Request.  With judgement removed, a person finds it straightforward to honour the needs of ‘the other’ as well as their own, needs often hidden deep below the dialogue.

    It’s 5 years since a friend explained how there was an alternative way to relate to others called ‘nonviolent communication’. It was news to me: I’d been brought up to believe winning arguments and tolerating judgements that others came out with was simply ‘how the world worked’. Now that I have adopted this alternative approach to life, judgements from others (and self) no longer restrict my spirit, the bouts of depression that used to burden me have gone, and adopting an NVC approach has made interactions with others so much less stressful.

    Take what happened to me last week for example.  “Jane, you’re disrespectful and uncaring,” my neighbour, with whom I normally get on well, called out.  Years ago, I would have reacted with self-justification, grovelling apology, or verbal counterattack, perhaps all three.  No longer.  At the core of NVC is the understanding that in every action or behaviour, ‘everyone is meeting their needs the best way they can at the time’, and I recognised my neighbour was doing just that, albeit in a clunky way.  For unrelated reasons she’d had a difficult week, and my genuine mistake, not noticing where a friend had parked, had triggered her anger. Though her words were set to push us apart, I could look beneath her words, guessing her hidden longing for connection and empathy, and that was what I honoured. The potential ‘seeds of war’ germinated into deeper closeness.    

    After developing the NVC approach, Rosenberg initiated peace programs in war-torn nations, held workshops in 60 countries, and set up NVC schools. Today hundreds of NVC trainers across the globe  teach this nonviolent approach to life, while many other initiatives such as the Alternatives to Violence Project, Restorative Circles, and Alcoholics Anonymous similarly seed peaceable engagement into diverse communities.   At the same time within western society, growing numbers seek to transition to lifestyles in flow with the earth and their peers.  Eco-philosopher Joanna Macy calls this shift, ‘The Great Turning’.

    “While the initial activity might seem to exist only at the fringes, when their time comes, ideas and behaviours become contagious: the more people pass on inspiring perspectives, the more these perspectives catch on. At a certain point the balance tips and we reach critical mass. Viewpoints and practices that were once on the margins become the new mainstream.” Joanna Macy

    Nonviolence still hasn’t mainstreamed though, despite these pockets of peaceable engagement.  So that’s where social media, often slammed for its destructive effects on community, comes in.   Like fungal mycelia that spread unseen through the soil, social media has the capacity to carry a countercultural message of nonviolence into the heart of every community in the world.

    I’ve been spending an hour or two each week over the past two years on Facebook and Twitter, experimenting with NVC.  I seek to engage with the angriest or most abusive person I can find and the outcomes are heart-warming. The angry, anti-government gun-toting Republican ‘antivaxxer’ turns out to be an anxious father wanting the best for his pre-schooler; the climate change denier is simply prioritising fears about mortgage payments on his family’s home if he lost his job in the oil-industry.  For me, there’s still a sense of wonder every time the dialogue opens up as the other person realises there is no judgement, no ‘being right’ or ‘being wrong’.   

    There’s a challenge with engaging peaceably on social media though – its countercultural, so can feel lonely and rapidly drains my capacity.  In a world geared for people to hold power-over positions, at times when support is lacking, it’s easy to feel like retreating to old adversarial ways. Other times, I find myself on the verge of giving up: pushback feels intense when a person swears, aims to diminish my value, or mocks my words.  And while for me the words of Marshall Rosenberg hold true, “There’s no information about the person being judged in a judgment,” it’s not something I’d want others to face alone. 

    I envisage people coming on board #gopeaceable as self-created three-person ‘seedpods’ to ensure no-one attempts NVC without mutual support.  If a person has others to mourn with when things don’t go right, and to celebrate with when they do, they are much more likely to continue with the as-yet countercultural NVC approach to life. Apps could support the movement with online NVC training and access to experienced NVC trainers, underpinned with information crowd-sourced, Wikipedia-style.  

     “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has. ”     Margaret Mead

    As I see it, a #gopeaceable movement with robust support would reclaim social media as a peaceable public space.  (Remember when Facebook was just a way to connect with friends?) Encountering someone who has dropped judgement of others inspires curiosity and seems to be catching. Furthermore, social media provides a perfect practice space for learners of NVC because written dialogue leaves time to think.  Imagine the culture of nonviolence reverberating throughout virtual spaces until it spills out across the real world.  

    And that’s where you may come in.  Inspired by the famous injunction of Margaret Mead, I’m seeking two others to join me to meet as a ‘#gopeaceable pod’ online for the next 8 weeks to co-vision how a #gopeaceable movement could take root and grow.  Are you one of them? 

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    It’s not my rubbish but it’s my community!

    “We are the protectors,” Max reminds others as he sets off up the wharf with bucket in hand.   Once a month a ‘flashmob’ of locals, liveaboard boaties, and visitors find the 90 minutes ‘Earthcare Opua’ gathering is not only rewarding but surprisingly enjoyable!   

    Earthcare Opua remains deliberately unstructured. With no-one in charge, newcomers and regulars alike simply assemble in assorted hi-vis with bucket or bag and a protective glove.  The group searches for litter across Opua, ‘harvesting’ debris from roadsides, tracks and the wharf.  “Knowing what I have picked up may keep a seabird or fish safe, means a lot,” explains Janie, “It’s something practical I do once a month that really makes a difference!”

    “I can’t believe all the cigarette butts,” a local says. “I must have picked up 100 or more, including a pile outside my mate’s business! Today I’ve found out butts contain plastic and when seagulls feed them to their chicks, it kills them. That’s so crazy!  Tomorrow, I’ll be down to chat with my mate!  I bet he doesn’t even realise! Maybe it’s his workers, maybe customers, but a sand can for stubs wouldn’t be hard eh?”

    Amongst the liveaboards from the marina, a competitive element develops.  “Anyone else find more than a dozen cable ties, ‘cut and dropped’? “  A discussion begins around small bits of rubbish washed by yesterday’s under the hard stand fence.  “Another rain and they’d have been floating in the ocean!” says one overseas yachtie who sees the practical impact her work has had. ‘it’s good to help out, and, I’ll be more sparing with cable ties from now on!”

    An Aucklander has come with his Opua friends.  He’s shocked by the number of pie wrappers he’s picked out of marina gardens!  Mainly though, he’s pleased his friends persuaded him to come along.  “It’s been great to meet all you guys.  I love coming up here and now I’ve done my bit to care for the Bay!”

    Earthcare Opua meets outside The Opua Store the first Sunday of each month at 9am.  All welcome. *Opua Store and the Marina Café kindly support volunteers bringing a reusable cup with a complementary tea or coffee after the pick-up.

    Are you unable to make Earthcare Opua next month but want to do your part to protect the Bay?

    Opua Business owners – your business no doubt depends on the health of the sea. Is there something more you can do to support your customers and workers to care for our Bay?     

    Seafarers – how many cable ties do you really need?

    Smokers – could an empty Eclipse Mints tin in your pocket/bag/car be your new ‘butt holder’?

    Pie lovers –Would you be willing to consider being a role model for protecting the bay? 

    Householders – Still taking packaging you dislike home with your purchase? Help businesses step up to their responsibility to talk with their suppliers about earth-friendly alternatives by handing packaging back in at the store. #timetoasksupplierstochange 

    Jane Banfield is a Paihia grandmother with a passion for the ocean.  Her first introduction to yachting was to marry the Kiwi yachtsman who 35 years ago happened upon the remote island school in Vanuatu where she was a volunteer teacher.  A keen kayaker, sailor and almost-daily swimmer, Jane is a self-styled ‘zero waste granny’ who has chosen a low impact packaging-free lifestyle and supports others in the Bay of Islands to do the same.


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    WHY I NO LONGER SAY ‘WELL DONE’!

    (A speech written to present at Toastmasters Kerikeri prior to the 2020 General Election.)

    E rangatira ma, e hoa ma, e manuhiri ma – Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa.  

    It may be Level 2 but I’m on the campaign trail today – I’m here to explain 3 downsides to using praise and compliments before I explain what I am  campaigning for !      

    Debate Election Vote - Free vector graphic on Pixabay

    ‘I like to praise people ‘ you say.  Well, here’s 3 reasons you are supporting the wrong party!   

    1. Praise is highly addictive _ Receiving praise releases the happiness hormone, dopamine.
      • Dopamine is a highly addictive compound –  Facebook ‘likes’ were designed around this fact.  
      •  Humans start to seek out praise – think people asking you how they look – they they don’t require an honest answer, they seek a quick dopamine fix!
      •   A person’s feeling of self-worth starts to rely on what others say…

    2. Praise is manipulative

    The goal of praise in hierarchical structures – schools, organisations, family homes – is often to achieve compliance.

     You are praised when you do what someone else decrees is the ‘right thing’. 

     “The use of Praise and compliments is a violent form of behaviour because the relationship of the praiser to the other person is one who sits in judgement – it’s a ‘power-over way of relating.”

    Marshall Rosenberg, Clinical Psychologist and founder of the global NVC movement

    Using praise as a Reward for doing the right thing may work for Pavlov’s dogs and Skinner’s rats but humans are more complex. 

    -When people sense they are being manipulated and their own needs don’t matter – they disengage.  Productivity drops.   

    Is authenticity still important? | How Cool Brands Stay Hot

    3. Praise reduces our ability to take risks .

    “  Kids who get too much praise are less likely to take risks, are highly sensitive to failure and are more likely to give up when faced with a challenge.”

    Carol Dweck, Professor, Developmental Psychology  

    This is highlighted in Stanford University research on 10 and 11 year old school children who were divided into 2 groups and given a simple IQ test.

    Both groups performed equally well but Afterwards, One group was praised up for how very smart they were, the other, told their results were due to their hard work they’d put in. 

    Offered a second slightly harder test, many of the group praised for being smart didn’t want to do it whereas 90% of the group praised for effort wanted to give it a try. 

    The experiment has been repeated with many different socio economic levels but the results on the second test are always the same – those who believed their results were due to their effort performed significantly better. 

    There’s a common thread here – between praise junkies, workers who stop when their boss turns her back, and kids who won’t take risks.  Praise lessens the reasons for doing your best for its own sake.  It disconnects people from the deep life-giving awareness a person gets that what they have done has enriched the life of others.

    That’s why I’m campaigning for the ‘sincere gratitude party!

    As a party member , for example, rather than message  ‘such an awesome gift’ to someone the day after they gave me a pair of socks with flowers on – “I’m wearing my nice happy socks! Makes me smile when I glance at my feet. “

    In Toastmasters, in place of ‘Awesome speech’, a feedback slip not with ‘your speech was great’ but “Your witty speech introduction gave me the first laugh I’ve had all week!  I so needed that after a difficult few days!      

    Sincere gratitude Rosenberg suggested has 3 parts:   turn sign around

    1. ACTION What has the person done that adds to our wellbeing?  
    2. NEEDS What need of ours has their action met ?
    3. JOY What feelings of pleasure do we have because of their action.   

    My new party has a single policy –  to sweep aside Facebook likes and phrases such as words like ‘well done’ and ‘awesome’ in favour of genuine appreciation.

    We believe that for people to flourish, its time to shift judgements –  both negative criticisms and positive compliments – out of the way we talk with each other.    

    2020 Election Campaign - Platform Trust

    Ok, Its time for a poll…    If you still  support praise and compliments, raise your hand.

    Raise your hand if you still support praise and compliments!

    If you are in favour of a shift to sincere gratitude, now raise yours.

    Ok, looks like I need to give you a chance to try it out before you decide whether to join my party!

    • over the next week, would you be willing to substitute sincere gratitude – SHARING HOW THEIR SPECIFIC ACTION –  MET YOUR NEEDS AND GAVE YOU JOY –  for your normal  off-the-cuff words of praise and plethora of Facebook ‘likes ?       

    I’ll be out continuing my campaign – perhaps you’ll join me?      


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    #letsbepeaceable – a vision for a viral grassroots movement

     Imagine a day, not too far off, when each encounter you have is met with empathetic understanding.  The person who has mistakenly tail-ended your car, the phone company employee, the government official, the person whose view on vaccination differs from your own, each listen with care to what you have to say.  What if, for the first time since the decline of collaboration as the social norm 10,000 years ago, we humans have the wherewithal within easy reach to transition to a collaborative, empathetic and peaceable world? 

    As I see it, the happy arrival of two widely accessible social tools, Social Media and the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) model changes the ballgame.   These two concepts used together now open the way for an #letsbepeacable movement to emerge and ‘go viral’, normalising nonviolent interactions between people across the globe. Are you a willing to be an ally and carry this vision with me? 

    If you feel weighed down by the judgemental labels flung across social media, family dinner tables, political forums, and woven into self-talk, that separate us from each other, you are not alone.   Indeed, as Jiddu Krishnamurti explains, “It’s no sign of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society.”  What I sense is that people are poised, ready for a transformational way to safely negotiate difference and restore community.  When the ship is sinking, passengers search for lifebelts.

    Normalising nonviolence could avoid the ship of humanity sinking. After all, the hierarchical model of power over others so entrenched in our society is not the only way.   I worked alongside the forest dwelling Ba’aka people, hunter gatherers, in Central African Republic. Like Quakers, the Ba’aka social model is based around collaboration not competition, and their is no hierarchical leadership. We in the West could structure things differently too: research shows our one year-olds are naturally collaborative until they are socialised in childhood to see right/wrong thinking and competion as the acceptable norm. So imagine our common future once organisations, government, school, and business, are redesigned for empathy and collaboration to be the expected standard.    

    A grassroots social movement with groundswell strong enough to open the way for the emergence of empathy as the norm for the 21st century may seem fanciful, yet it’s surely worth exploring. Let’s consider the ‘seeds of war’ in judgemental behaviour, the power of the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) way of life to transform human interactions, and how social media could role model nonviolence into the furthest reaches of the globe.  

    “When two people relate to each other authentically and humanly, God is the electricity that surges between them.”    Martin Buber

    Culture wars about ‘who is right’ and ‘who is wrong’ disconnect us from each other, yet judgemental language is currently normalised and accepted in all strata of society. Perhaps you yourself still view others through a lens of ‘who is right’ and ‘who is wrong’?  

     In contrast, the NVC model provides a tool to create judgement-free interactions.  The approach was developed by clinical psychologist, Marshall Rosenberg (1934 – 2015) out of research into the causes of violence, and how to reduce it.  Rosenberg was curious why some people remained non-judgemental and open however those around them behaved; while others shifted into blame, judgement, and retribution.  He encapsulated his findings into a practical tool.  For the first time, the option of a nonviolent response is in easy reach of everyone for each face-to-face, email, group or social media encounter.

    It is not always clear that ‘nonviolence’ is not an absence of something. It’s actually an affirmative choice about how to show up in the world: the ‘Ahimsa’ philosophy behind Gandhi’s movement.  ‘Non-violent’ people simply avoid violent acts; those practising ‘nonviolence’ choose their behaviour to build peace. That hyphen makes all the difference!

    “All that has been integrated into NVC has been known for centuries about consciousness, language, communication skills, and use of power that enable us to maintain a perspective of empathy for ourselves and others, even under trying conditions.” Marshall Rosenberg

    Nonviolent communication is a simple process and easy to learn. With an understanding that all humans share the same array of ‘universal basic needs’ and this is what connects us, practitioners learn to reframe dialogue in a non-judgemental way, following a four-step process: Observation – Feeling – Need – Request.  With judgement removed, a person finds it straightforward to honour the needs of ‘the other’ as well as their own, needs often hidden deep below the dialogue.

    It’s 5 years since a friend explained how there was an alternative way to relate to others called ‘nonviolent communication’. It was news to me: I’d been brought up to believe winning arguments and tolerating judgements that others came out with was simply ‘how the world worked’. Now that I have adopted this alternative approach to life, judgements from others (and self) no longer restrict my spirit, the bouts of depression that used to burden me have gone, and adopting an NVC approach has made interactions with others so much less stressful.

    Take what happened to me last week for example.  “Jane, you’re disrespectful and uncaring,” my neighbour, with whom I normally get on well, called out.  Years ago, I would have reacted with self-justification, grovelling apology, or verbal counterattack, perhaps all three.  No longer.  At the core of NVC is the understanding that in every action or behaviour, ‘everyone is meeting their needs the best way they can at the time’, and I recognised my neighbour was doing just that, albeit in a clunky way.  For unrelated reasons she’d had a difficult week, and my genuine mistake, not noticing where a friend had parked, had triggered her anger. Though her words were set to push us apart, I could look beneath her words, guessing her hidden longing for connection and empathy, and that was what I honoured. The potential ‘seeds of war’ germinated into deeper closeness.    

    After developing the NVC approach, Rosenberg initiated peace programs in war-torn nations, held workshops in 60 countries, and set up NVC schools. Today hundreds of NVC trainers across the globe  teach this nonviolent approach to life, while many other initiatives such as the Alternatives to Violence Project, Restorative Circles, and Alcoholics Anonymous similarly seed peaceable engagement into diverse communities.   At the same time within western society, growing numbers seek to transition to lifestyles in flow with the earth and their peers.  Eco-philosopher Joanna Macy calls this shift, ‘The Great Turning’.

    “While the initial activity might seem to exist only at the fringes, when their time comes, ideas and behaviours become contagious: the more people pass on inspiring perspectives, the more these perspectives catch on. At a certain point the balance tips and we reach critical mass. Viewpoints and practices that were once on the margins become the new mainstream.” Joanna Macy

    Nonviolence still hasn’t mainstreamed though, despite these pockets of peaceable engagement.  So that’s where social media, often slammed for its destructive effects on community, comes in.   Like fungal mycelia that spread unseen through the soil, social media has the capacity to carry a countercultural message of nonviolence into the heart of every community in the world.

    I’ve been spending an hour or two each week over the past two years on Facebook and Twitter, experimenting with NVC.  I seek to engage with the angriest or most abusive person I can find and the outcomes are heart-warming. The angry, anti-government gun-toting Republican ‘antivaxxer’ turns out to be an anxious father wanting the best for his pre-schooler; the climate change denier is simply prioritising fears about mortgage payments on his family’s home if he lost his job in the oil-industry.  For me, there’s still a sense of wonder every time the dialogue opens up as the other person realises there is no judgement, no ‘being right’ or ‘being wrong’.   

    There’s a challenge with engaging peaceably on social media though – its countercultural, so can feel lonely and rapidly drains my capacity.  In a world geared for people to hold power-over positions, at times when support is lacking, it’s easy to feel like retreating to old adversarial ways. Other times, I find myself on the verge of giving up: pushback feels intense when a person swears, aims to diminish my value, or mocks my words.  And while for me the words of Marshall Rosenberg hold true, “There’s no information about the person being judged in a judgment,” it’s not something I’d want others to face alone. 

    I envisage people coming on board #letsbepeaceable as self-created three-person ‘seedpods’ to ensure no-one attempts NVC without mutual support.  If a person has others to mourn with when things don’t go right, and to celebrate with when they do, they are much more likely to continue with the as-yet countercultural NVC approach to life. Apps could support the movement with online NVC training and access to experienced NVC trainers, underpinned with information crowd-sourced, Wikipedia-style.  

     “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has. ”     Margaret Mead

    An #letsbepeaceable movement with robust support could reclaim social media as a peaceable public space.  (Remember when Facebook was just a way to connect with friends?) Encountering someone who has dropped judgement of others inspires curiosity and seems to be catching. Furthermore, social media provides a perfect practice space for learners of NVC because written dialogue leaves time to think.  Imagine the culture of nonviolence reverberating throughout virtual spaces until it spills out across the real world.  

    And that’s where you may come in.  Inspired by the famous injunction of Margaret Mead, I’m seeking others to join me as a ‘#letsbepeaceable pod’ online to co-vision how an #letsbepeaceable movement could take root and grow.  Would you be willing to be one of them? 


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    PEACE TROLLING – using social media to build a global culture of peace and respect

    Imagine by 2025 if across the world, people of every nation, every language, young and old, are online allies in a movement of non-violent engagement between people across every social media platform. Perhaps you, dear reader, will be one of a growing global ‘army of Peace Trolls’ , seeding social media the capacity to engage with destructive energy, whereby even people holding strongly opposed views will find themselves within a culture of non-violent peaceful coexistence between people.

    Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart’. (Rumi)

    THE VISION: When people form connections at the level of the heart, and know that their needs have been listened to and understood, the divisions caused by feelings subside and they can enter into constructive, mutually respectful dialogue.

    THE GOAL: Social media users across the globe on differing platforms will become an ‘army of Peace Trolls’. As they honour ‘the other’, a tsunami of non-violent communication, empathy and care will spread across the globe. People feeling this will discover how they can climb out of their anger and existential despair by themselves using social media for Good.

    THE OBJECTIVE: to change the climate on social media by meeting people’s hate online free of any intent to change people’s views.

    THE HOW:

    • Set up 4 principles about how to hear another person and 4 principles about how to respond online to hateful comments. Since this is not in real time, you have time to compose what to say next. That way you come at your best. It’s for people who have the willingness and the capacity and want to focus on connection.
    • Offer online training for people who want to do this
    • Offer a platform for people to engage with each other for support
    • Offer people with experience the opportunity to support those who are doing it on the ground who are new
    • Preliminary ideas about principles for peacetrolling
      • Listen and reflect at least 3 times before saying anything
      • Your task is to understand, not to evaluate whether you agree or disagree.
      • People who put out a comment offensive to others are human: they have the same needs

    THE PILOT PROJECT: Invite people with experience of NVC to participate ( no training needed) in a one-month pilot group to try out whether the concept works. The core aim is to support a shift from a culture of trolling to a culture of peace and civility throughout social media through people responding empathically and open-heartedly to messages of hate and challenge. Decide on the hows, wheres and whens so participants stay within their capacity, given offline committments and capacities. Share with other participants of the group, which online community you will take so everybody knows what is happening. Develop assessment metrics to evaluate results. End of the month evaluation of how it all worked. Decision on whether to proceed more widely.

    I feel scared and I feel sad because I don’t have capacity to do this alone. Yet deep in my soul, I believe it is an idea whose time has come. I long to connect with others who share this vision and will give a pilot project a try.

    Would YOU be willing to take part in a month-long pilot project this year? If so, will you reach out to me at zerowastegranny@gmail.com?


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    PARA KORE: An Alternative Voice for a Zero Waste World

    I sometimes forget how extensive my knowledge is on rubbish! Like childbirth, I guess the hard work and times of pain completing my Masters Research project as an adult student 2 years ago are soon forgotten!

    I feel so blessed to have been an adult student, able to focus many hours of work and interviews about an organisation that had inspired me. Para Kore, the national Māori Zero Waste organisation, bases its work to reduce wastage in Aotearoa new Zealand around indigenous Māori understandings, reconnecting people to their heritage and to the natural world, like their ancestors before them.

    My thesis, including my findings from interviewing Para kore practitioners who speak of the doors which open towards greater health and wellbeing, increased sovereignty and in finding their voice as they reconnect with those who have goen before them, and those who will follow after, is to be found here, Para Kore: An Alternative Voice for a Zero Waste World


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    January 2021: a journal

    1st Jan. As the new year opens, I, like a moko kakariki (local green gecko), appear afresh, a glorious healthy green, after a skin slough. The joys and the challenges of 2020 are behind, no going back, and in my new skin I’m so ready for this new beginning.

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    2nd Jan. I’ve decided to eschew alcohol this month. It’s an experiment in wellbeing – does alcohol keep me from staying centred and staying ‘me’ in social situations?

    8th Jan. Consumed by the situation unfolding in the States., doomscrolling fills much of my day. This in turn frustrates me! Twitter-sized doses feed an underlying addiction to cortisol. I’m hooked!

    9th Jan. Donning my hi vis Zero-Waste-Granny vest, I’m off by bike via the Opua car ferry to Russell. It’s a chance to get bike fit and support the annual Tall Ships Race celebration. Recycling bins are set up and our job is to direct revellers in putting hangi food scraps, compostable plates, bottles and cans, and,regrettably, landill bound foil and plastic forks. 900 portions of the best hangi (yes, vegetarians catered for too) I’ve ever tasted, delivered within a friendly community atmosphere. Sated by food, useful discussions, and a job well done, I delight in the ferry ride to Paihia and cycle home in the dark over the hill back home.

    10th Jan. I’m attempting oat milk. Keen to stop purchasing Tetrapaks – my biggest regular source of landfill rubbish – a friend has forwarded a recipe. 1 cup rolled oats. 4 cups water. Blend 45 seconds. That was easy! But straining through a teatowel is painfully slow and I end up squeezing it like a cow’s udder. The result is disappointingly watery…

    16th Jan. By 7.30am I’ve cycled over the hill to the mangrove area beside the road. In 20 minutes the rubbish bag I’ve brought is full with roadside rubbish I’d seen from my car earlier this week. Life amongst the mangrove roots had called to me and I’ve answered. Biking homewards, my day’s schedule stacked with personal and business issues, feels easier to tackle. In a few precious minutes, I’ve discovered my flow with the web of life. There’s no better feeling. Thanks to me, all that plastic and other rubbish won’t tangle around the incredible life in the mangrove ecosystem, and I’ve recharged with flow. Win-win.


About Me

The sky is not completely dark at night. Were the sky absolutely dark, one would not be able to see the silhouette of an object against the sky.

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